Funding approved for 6 Derry & Strabane skills and employment projects

Match funding of £127,551 was unanimously approved for six European Social Fund (ESF) projects in the Derry City and Strabane council area by members of the Business and Culture Committee at their April meeting.

Councillors also agreed it would be helpful to hear from a delegation of providers and individuals who participated in the programmes.

The ESF provides funding for activities to help key target groups such as the long term unemployed, economically inactive, those not in education, employment or training and people with a disability, to develop their employability and skills and ultimately to find employment/self-employment.  The projects to benefit from council’s match funding are: Conservation Volunteers (£30,000), Bytes (£10,595), Job Directions (£28,811.12), Now Group (£25,000 ), USEL (£30,000) and RAPID (£3,145).

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Head of Business, Kevin O’Connor said: “Following the scoring of applications, DfE (Department for Economy) has informed council that all 11 projects were successful in their application process, and that they would match fund five of these projects from the following organisations: Triax – Skills North West, Women’s Centre, 21 Training Ltd, Job Directions and Include Youth. That leaves a balance of six organisations who require match funding and they come to a total of £127,551.12.”

Some of the many local organisations helping people into employment via ESF programmes pictured previously.

Welcoming the report, Sinn Féin Councillor Patricia Logue said: “It’s great that new groups have been awarded this funding. I know from being on the Triax board it has really, really been successful in helping a lot of people gain skills and work in our area and beyond. I do hope that after the election the Department for Economy they do keep to their commitment and fund the other projects that are waiting to be funded.” 

SDLP Councillor Rory Farrell added: “I think it’s good these programmes are maintained and it’s good new programmes are introduced and our rate-spend has gone down from £198K last year to £127K this year, so that’s more value for money for the public finances. What I would like to see is people who have gone through these programmes brought in to tell us what they have got out of them, what they did and did it result in employment, I think that would be useful.”

Committee Chair, Councillor Conor Heaney added: “It would be useful for members to hear the work that is ongoing that this council is match funding. I know from my own experience that it is really important work.”

Mr O’Connor confirmed to members that it would be possible to arrange a presentation at a future meeting.

Gillian Anderson

Local Democracy Reporter